I listened to a video on Andrew Peel’s blog recently entitled, Do Most People Fail? by network marketing advocate, Tim Sales (very appropriately named!). You don’t need to be a network marketer to benefit from the message.
Tim points out that most people usually don’t fail at things, they quit. We don’t fail at dieting, at fitness programs, at learning a new language or learning to play an instrument. We just flat out quit.
We’re usually fairly enthusiastic when we decide to take on an endeavor. If we want to learn how to play guitar for instance, we go out and buy the instrument, the music books, training manuals, etc. This is the fun part. Everyone loves to spend money. We even like practicing at first. We like handling the shiny new instrument and envision a wonderful future state where we are strumming away to our favorite songs.
Once the novelty wears off though, and we realize that it’s not all fun and games, we fold up the tent. The slightest bit of adversity and that’s it. It’s easy to come up with excuses for not pressing on. The instrument gets placed in the closet, never to be seen again.
Same thing is true in the workplace. We don’t fail at implementing a new quality program. We quit. Often we quit before we even start.
Persistence is the great equalizer. It trumps talent, money, and many other “advantages.” How do we get a dose of that persistence stuff?
Joe Kerr: Quitting is for chumps. You either have what it takes to succeed or you don’t. It’s up to us champs to guide the chumps – not an easy task as we’ve discussed in many other posts.
Wanda B. Goode: I’d agree that some seem to have persistence built in, but I do think that there are ways we can improve our ability to stick things out.
It really helps to have a support system. It’s usually effective, for instance, if you go jogging with a friend, if you play an instrument in a band, have a spouse that pushes you, etc.
Writing down and communicating your goals to others is also powerful. It gives added incentive to get them done.
Maintaining a focus is also important. Some make the mistake of trying to do too much too soon. Be realistic. If you want to learn an instrument, realize that it will take a significant amount of time to do so. Plan accordingly. Don’t start off practicing 4 hours a day. You won’t be able to maintain that. In addition, don’t work on becoming a good golfer while you are learning how to play an instrument. Focus on one thing at a time.
Set some interim realistic targets and reward yourself when they are achieved.
It’s hard to find the time for extracurricular activity these days. One way is to cut back on the TV viewing.
Recognize that you will have some setbacks. That is OK. The key is to pick yourself back up and get back to it.
Here’s a blog entry with some additional tips – Persistence – 3 Tips for Strengthening It.